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Posted on 08-13-2018

Protect Your Dog or Cat from Heartworm Disease

Keeping your pet healthy is a major responsibility for any pet owner. Regular veterinary visits, adequate preventatives, and advice from the experts at Nall Hills Animal Hospital in Overland Park can help your furry friend live a long and happy life. It also helps to be aware of any potential conditions and what you can do to prevent them from occurring. Heartworm disease is one such illness that can be prevented with proper care.

dog covered in soap because he is taking a bath

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious disease that causes heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and eventual death when left untreated. This parasitic worm mostly affects dogs, cats, and ferrets and is spread through the bite of a mosquito. These worms measure as much as a foot-long and live inside the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. Eventually, an infected pet can harbor hundreds of works, and even if treated, the disease can cause lasting damage. The best type of heartworm treatment is prevention.

What are the Signs?

In the early stages of the disease, animals may show no symptoms at all of heartworm. Over time, your pet may develop a mild and persistent cough, be reluctant to exercise, show signs of extreme fatigue after exercise, have decreased appetite and will start losing weight. As the disease progresses, the belly may become swollen, labored breathing and dark urine. 

Tips to Protect Your Pet This Spring and Summer

  • The good news is there are ways to safeguard against heartworm to prevent your pet from ever contracting the disease. 
  • Have your pet tested for the disease, A simple blood test can let you know early on if your pet tests positive, so treatment can begin.
  • Give monthly heartworm preventative or semi-annual pills prescription pills treat heartworm in its larval stages.
  • Give your pet a monthly pill for flea and tick prevention. Many topical treatments safeguard against mosquitoes as well. It’s important to administer these treatments in the cooler months as well for overall health.

Contact Our Local Veterinarian Today

Again, the best heartworm treatment is prevention. Contact Nall Hills Animal Hospital today to learn more about preventative care or to schedule an appointment. 

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